Lesson Title: Agriculture and the Economy Grade Level

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Lesson Title:

Agriculture and the Economy

Grade Level:

Grade Three Lesson 5

Unit of Study:

Our Local History: Discovering Our Past and Our Traditions

History-Social Science Standard:

3.5 Students demonstrate basic economic reasoning skills and an understanding of the economy of the local region.

Correlation to K-8 California Adopted Textbooks:

Harcourt Brace: Communities. Unit 2: Where People Start Communities. Lessons 4 and 5. Unit 4: People Working Together. Lessons 1-5.

McGraw-Hill: Communities. Unit 5: Working together. Chapter 11: Work and Money, Chapter 12: Producing Goods.
Setting the Context:

California is primarily an agricultural state. Farm workers in California provide a service that produces goods for the entire country. Agriculture is directly tied to the economy of the State, nation, and world.

Focus Question:

How important are farm workers to the State and the nation’s economy?

Expected Learning Outcomes:

The students will be able to demonstrate an understanding of the impact that farm workers have on the economy of the State and the nation.


The students will be able to complete a graphic organizer depicting the importance of California agriculture and the work of people in agriculture and use the graphic organizer to write about the importance of agriculture and the work of farm workers.

Key Concepts:


Human-environment interaction/human-land relationships, work
Essential Vocabulary:



Primary Sources:


Graphic organizer, maps



Show students an agricultural map of California. Make a class chart of all the items that are grown/raised in California. Ask students which of those items they have used this week/today. Ask the students what life would be like without some of the items on the map. Remind students that many people around the world depend on California’s agriculture.

Making Connections:

Review what students learned about agriculture in Lesson 1, We Depend on the Land: Agriculture in California.

Vocabulary Activities:

  1. Ask students to think about what people do for jobs. Chart all the jobs that students say. Display word cards (Appendix A) with the terms: goods and services. Discuss and define the terms. Goods describe merchandise; items to sell or buy. Services describe work done for others. Using the list of jobs, have the class sort the jobs by what they provide - goods, services, or both.

  1. Discuss the importance of jobs in the community. Why do people have jobs?

  1. The system of producing and exchanging money is called our economy. Display the word (Appendix A) and discuss.

  1. Have students write a sentence using each vocabulary word and make an illustration to go with it. (Appendix B)

  1. Print out the vocabulary word cards and display in the classroom for future reference and environmental print. (Appendix A)

Guided Instruction:

Show students a photo of farm workers. (click here for picture) Ask students to think about the job of the farm worker. Do farm workers provide a good, a service, or both? Lead a discussion. Ask students what would happen if farm workers stopped doing their jobs? Students may respond with personal concerns, but lead them to a discussion in which they think about the economy. Many people rely on agriculture and the work of farm workers.

Create a class graphic organizer. Students can write on their personal copies while the class graphic organizer is being created (Appendix C). Write “farm worker” in the first box of the graphic organizer. Discuss what other jobs are needed once the farm worker harvests the crops. Ideas could include truck driver, grocery store worker, grocery storeowner, cashier, restaurant owner, waiter/waitress, and so forth. Discuss the importance of farm workers in our economy. Many people rely on the agricultural industry for their jobs. California’s agricultural industry supplies the world with many needed goods. Ask students, what life would be like without the goods and services produced by farm workers and agriculture?
Using the graphic organizer as an idea bank, have students write a paragraph about the importance of agriculture and farm workers in our economy.
Integrating Language:

Note taking on graphic organizer

Paragraph writing (topic sentence, concluding sentence)



Conduct further research on California’s agriculture and its effect on the economy. Make and analyze graphs depicting various agricultural data.

Appendix A


Merchandise; items to sell or buy


Work done for others


The system of producing and exchanging money

Appendix B




Appendix C

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